Saturday, February 24, 2018

Nistar Presbyterian celebrates 125 years


A simple thank you: Rev Bruce Kramer, left, presents a token to one of the church’s longstanding members.

Mark Fraser

After 125 years, Nistar Presbyterian Church in Chase Village continues to be a light in the community. The Church celebrated its 125th anniversary on February 23rd 2014 and from humble beginnings in a carat shed in 1889, the church has grown, becoming a beacon through which its members share the love and lessons of Jesus Christ—the church, more than just a building, enduring of the legacy of its name: “Nistar” is derived from the Hindi term meaning “Redeemer”.

A century and a quarter is a milestone achievement, and to commemorate and give thanks to God, the Nistar congregation held a week of activities from 19-23 February based on the theme “Standing Firm in Faith”. Events included evening services, a “singspiration” and “walk down memory lane”, a health fair, and a grand thanksgiving service on Sunday, 23 February at 5 p.m.

The local board was instrumental in planning and executing the activities for our celebrations and was ably assisted by the various groups of the church.

The first evening service was on Wednesday 19 February, led by Presiding Elder Larry Kowlessar, and featuring the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church choir from La Romain, with Rev Elvis Elahie delivering the sermon. Rev Elahie’s message was based on the scripture passage from Corinthians II, chapter 13, and challenged his listeners to “examine ourselves to see if we are holding to our faith”.

Rev Bruce Kramer, another past minister at Nistar, led the service on Thursday February 20. The Marabella Presbyterian Church choir inspired worship though song and Rev Damien Sieunarine delivered the sermon.

On Friday 21 February, the Nistar choir led a “singspiration” evening, filled with lively choruses. Guest artistes for the evening were the Couva choir, Celestial band from Susamachar, Mrs Cheryl Beharry and her daughters from Chaguanas, Mr Jones Jeet, Ms Nishta Mohan of our Calcutta church, and Dr Victor Terapali and his group who rendered praises in Hindi.

Then, as a special treat, a video presentation featuring several of the most senior and lifelong members of Nistar captured the growth and progress from humble beginnings to the exemplar of Presbyterianism it is now.

A Health Fair was held on Saturday 22 February, organised by Dr Victor Terapali, who brought a team of doctors to provide medical services to the community, offering a variety of health tests for blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol, as well as a lecture on healthy living. The Nistar local board, on behalf of the community and congregation, sincerely thanks Dr Terapali and his team for this gesture.

The highlight of the celebrations was a thanksgiving service on Sunday 23, February at 5 p.m. Among the special guests were our former ministers and deaconesses who had faithfully served the Chase Village Pastoral region. Ms Ramona Ramdial, Member of Parliament for Couva North also attended, bringing greetings on behalf of the Government and presenting a generous $5,000.00 donation to the Youth Group.

Minister of the Chase Village Pastoral region, Rev Ria Thompson- Jimdar, led the worship and Rev Joy Abdul-Mohan, our guest speaker—also a past minister at Nistar— brought the message.

Rev Abdul-Mohan based her sermon on Corinthians I, Chapter 3. She commended the Church on the selection of its theme “Standing Firm in Faith”, adding that we should “Stand firm in faith as partners with God in building the Church of Christ”

As she concluded, Rev Abdul-Mohan reaffirmed that “Standing Firm in Faith” is not an easy task. “We need Commitment, Co-operation, a Community Spirit and a foundation made of material that can never be shaken,” she said.

Giving thanks for 125 years would not be complete without a recount of Nistar’s history, presented by Mr Rodney Harnarine, longstanding elder and past chairman of the local board. Nistar’s history was in three phases, he said: starting from a carat shed between 1886-1910; a wooden structure from 1919 – 1964; and the present building from 1965 to 2014.